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Budweiser Brewing Company APAC said on Tuesday that it plans to raise up to US$4.8 billion and add Singapore sovereign wealth fund GIC Private Limited as a cornerstone investor as it revives its initial public offering in Hong Kong, weeks after shelving its listing in the midst of protests that have threatened the city’s reputation as an international financial centre.

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The slimmed-down listing of the Asia-Pacific arm of Anheuser-Busch InBev, the world’s largest brewer, will be the largest offering in Hong Kong this year and the second-biggest globally after Uber Technologies’ US$8.1 billion listing in New York in May, according to financial data provider Refinitiv.Budweiser initially hoped to raise as much as US$9.8 billion, but scrapped its listing in July as it was unable to attract the valuation it wanted, as market sentiment weakened amid a year-long trade war between the United States and China, and intensifying civil unrest in Hong Kong over a controversial extradition bill.

The listing in Hong Kong “may accelerate the process of premiumisation of the beer industry in China, and stimulate profitability at major domestic beer companies…..There will be a catfish effect that is good for the entire beer market.”

Steven Tse, Senior Analyst at SBI China Capital Financial Services,

“This IPO is conditional to the right valuation, the right market conditions. In this world, you never know what happens tomorrow, or next week,” Jan Craps, the company’s chief executive, said. “We are quite confident investor interest is there. You’ve seen the cornerstone investor. We believe, within the investor community, there is a broad support for this transaction today.”The revived listing would provide a boost to Hong Kong’s stock exchange, which lost its crown as the top market for IPOs in the first half of the year and saw several firms delay their offerings as valuations declined by as much as 40 per cent this summer.

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The improved appetite among investors has made companies more comfortable coming back to the markets for new listings. At Monday’s close, the city’s benchmark Hang Seng Index was up 6.3 per cent since news emerged that Lam would formally withdraw the extradition bill.Logistics real estate developer ESR Cayman said on Friday it planned to revive its US$698.8 million IPO in Hong Kong, which it delayed due to “current market conditions” in June. Home Credit, a consumer finance lender that counts China as its biggest market, has begun speaking with institutional investors ahead of its US$1 billion listing in Hong Kong.

One test for the market will be whether Chinese e-commerce giant and South China Morning Post parent Alibaba Group Holding goes forward with a US$15 billion listing in Hong Kong this year.

View source on SCMP (https://www.scmp.com/business/companies/article/3027675/budweiser-raise-us48-billion-hong-kong-ipo-adds-singapore)

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